Aug. 6, 2019

Learn how to be an effective, successful, happy academic

What to expect from wellness experts Alex Clark and Bailey Sousa’s keynote on Aug. 14


Sasha Lavoie, University Relations

Success and wellness can co-exist in academia. On Aug. 14, the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, Campus Mental Health Strategy, and Werklund School of Education invite educators to consider this idea during a keynote and workshop with acclaimed speakers Dr. Alex Clark, PhD, and Bailey Sousa, PMP.

“As educators, we often put our well-being on the back burner while we attend to everything else,” says Dr. Andrew Szeto, PhD, director of the Campus Mental Health Strategy and associate professor in the Department of Psychology. “This event will challenge how we traditionally think about academic work and support our community to build resilience and be more effective educators.”

To get a better idea about what to expect from the upcoming keynote and workshop, UToday caught up with the two co-authors of How to be a Happy Academic. In addition to writing their best-selling book and international facilitation work, Clark is a professor and associate vice-president (research) at the University of Alberta, while Sousa is the director of the Peter Lougheed Leadership College at the University of Alberta. 

Clark and Sousa

Clark and Sousa present a keynote and workshops on Aug 14.

Photo courtesy of the speakers

Learn how to fit self-care into your busy schedule

Burnout is a real risk for educators, which is why it’s important to draw boundaries and use time effectively. For Sousa, “There will never be ‘enough time.’ But by using the time we have more effectively, we can develop the patterns that help us better ensure our energy, passions and physical health stay strong amidst the hectic schedules many of us have.”

Reconnect with your values

Values can be an important part of why educators choose their career path. However, it’s easy to lose sight of them over the years, which is why Bailey Sousa suggests the importance of always circling back. “Reflecting on and talking about our values, thinking about where they came from and how they do and could inform our work every day is key,” she says.

Reframe what failing means

The keynote will attach new meaning to the "F-word," encouraging educators to recognize that failure is not the absence of success. For Sousa and Clark, failing means an opportunity to practise learning: “The most useful learning tends to come from the hardest places.”

“The Educators Summer Wellness Series is a fantastic opportunity for our community to come together to engage in meaningful conversation about our individual and collective mental health and well-being,” says Dr. Natasha Kenny, PhD, senior director of the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. “The topics covered by Alex and Bailey are common experiences in academia, and we’re thrilled to welcome them to share best practices that educators across UCalgary can leverage in their own lives — on and off-campus.”

Learn more by attending the keynote and workshop on Wednesday, Aug. 14. Registration is separate for each event. For a full listing of activities visit the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning website.

Keynote: Failure, Learning and the Growth Mindset: How to be an Effective, Successful, Happy Academic
Open to all UCalgary faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and graduate students
Aug. 14, 9 – 10 a.m.

Leadership workshop: How to be an Effective, Successful, Happy Academic Leader
For deans, associate deans, department heads and equivalents
Aug. 14, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Faculty workshop: Being an Effective, Successful, Happy Academic
Open to all UCalgary educators
Aug. 14, 1:30 – 4 p.m.

The University of Calgary’s Campus Mental Health Strategy is a bold commitment to the importance of mental health and well-being of our university family. Our vision is to be a community where we care for each other, learn and talk about mental health and well-being, receive support as needed, and individually and collectively realize our full potential.